Opatija, September 28, 2023 – Nicolo Parisini, 23-year-old Italian from team Q36.5, has won stage three of CRO Race, which ran a course of 133.5 kilometres from Otočac to Opatija.
Quickly after the start in Otočac, a group of five broke away from the peloton: Polish riders Mateusz Kostanski and Bartosz Rudyk (Voster), Austrian Marvin Hammerschmid (Hrinkow Advarics), Australian Dylan Hopkins (Ljubljana Gusto Santic), and German Philip Weber (Maloja Pushbikers).
Hammerschmid was first across the categorised climb up Vratnik ahead of Hopkins and Kostanski, while Rudyk came first at the intermediate sprint in Novi Vinodolski, with Kostanski taking second and Weber third. A slightly more challenging climb to Bribir followed, and Hammerschmid was once again first over the line, winning him enough points to take the green king of the mountains jersey. Hopkins was second over the line at Bribir, and Weber third.
With INEOS Grenadiers dictating the pace, the peloton kept the breakaway’s lead under a minute and a half; the front group was finally reeled back in 40 kilometres before the finish line, with the exception of Hopkins. Despite holding onto his lead for another ten kilometres, the group finally swallowed Hopkins back up as well.
Australian Patrick Eddy (DSM-firmenich) pipped Americans Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers) and Quinn Simmons (Lidl-Trek) to the line at the categorised climb before Opatija. First over the line of the intermediate sprint during he first pass through Opatija was Venezuelan Orluis Alberto Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) ahead of INEOS Grenadiers riders Sheffield and Brit Conor Swift.
Croatian rider from Rijeka, Fran Miholjević (Bahrain Victorious), then split from the peloton and held his distance at the front of the race for two and a half kilometres, but failed to maintain the rhythm of the leading group, which shrank to just around twenty riders at the finish. Despite the outcome, Miholjević showed his independence on his home ground and exceptional control during the very technical sprint descent towards Opatija.
In the final sprint in Opatija, Parisini beat out Dane Tobias Andresen (DSM-firmenich) and Slovenian Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious).
“I was convinced I would have a good result today and I’m happy I managed it. The team positioned me well towards the end of the stage, but in the end I decided to stay on Mohorič’s wheel, which turned out to be the right decision“, said Parisini.
While this was Andresen’s second time coming in second at this year’s CRO Race (the first being in stage one), today’s finish was enough to put him in the lead in the general classification, with two seconds over Parisini and four over Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X). Andresen has also taken the blue points jersey, as well as the white jersey for the best young rider. Austrian Marvin Hammerschmid will be wearing the green king of the mountains jersey at the starting line of stage four.
At the start of the second stage, the riders were seen off by mayor of Otočac Goran Bukovac, Lika-Senj County Tourist Board director Ivan Radošević, Otočac Tourist Board director Viktorija Rogić, and Otočac City Council president Tino Ostović.
The cyclists were welcomed at the finish line by head of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Vojko Braut, mayor of Opatija Fernando Kirigin, Opatija Tourist Board director Suzi Petričić, and Kvarner Tourist Board representative Vlasta Mastrović.
The fourth stage is slated to start on 29 September in Krk at 11:45 AM and will finish in Labin; cyclists are expected to arrive in Labin between 4:36 PM and 5:08 PM.
If you use photos from the folder entitled Mario Stiehl photography, please credit them to Mario Stiehl; photographs taken from the folder entitled Luis Angel Gomez should be credited to Luis Gomez/Sprint Cycling Agency.More information about the race, teams, cyclists, etc. will be available on the official sites on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.